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EU politicians push for cyber security and data audit of Facebook

Embargoed to 1200 Wednesday August 01 File photo dated 25/03/18 of the Facebook logo. The social network has announced new tools that will enable users to better control the time they spend online. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 1, 2018. Coming to both the social media site and photo-sharing platform Instagram, the tools will include a graph that breaks down when users go on the sites and for how long. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Facebook. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

By Lorne Cook, Associated Press

European Union politicians appear set to demand audits of Facebook by Europe's cyber security agency and data protection authority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

A draft resolution submitted on Thursday to the EU Parliament's civil liberties and justice committee urged Facebook to accept "a full and independent audit of its platform investigating data protection and security of personal data".

The assembly summoned Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in May to give evidence about allegations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used the data of millions of Facebook users to target voters during political campaigns, including the one that brought US President Donald Trump to office.

Claude Moraes, the chairman of the EU parliamentary committee which drafted the resolution, said the probes "need to be done".

"Not only have Facebook's policies and actions potentially jeopardised citizens' personal data, but then they have also had an impact on electoral outcomes and on the trust citizens pose in digital solutions and platforms," Mr Moraes said.

The committee aims to adopt the resolution, which will almost certainly be modified, by October 10 and put it to the full assembly for endorsement in late October, well ahead of EU elections next May.

The resolution also urges European justice authorities to investigate any alleged "misuse of the online political space by foreign forces", and calls on the EU's executive commission to propose ways to boost the powers of Europe's public prosecutor's office so it can tackle crimes against electoral infrastructure.

It notes "with regret" that Facebook did not send staff with the right technical knowledge to answer politicians' questions and "points out that such an approach is detrimental to the trust European citizens have in social platforms".

Mr Zuckerberg was questioned in Brussels on May 22, but the politicians used up most of the speaking time with their own remarks, leaving the Facebook chief with little time to respond.

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